Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021

Statutory Guidance for schools and colleges from 1st September 2021

What has changed?

The latest version of KCSIE was published on 6th July. It is currently for information only and will not come into force until 1st September 2021.

There are some significant new training implications especially in regard to sexual violence, sexual abuse and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges.

There is a list of substantive changes on Pages 161 – 166. This blog will support you in understanding these changes.


Part 1: Safeguarding information for all staff

Paragraph 13 emphasises that the school Child Protection Policy should include information on the procedures to deal with peer on peer abuse

Paragraph 18 is a new paragraph that emphasis that all staff should be able to reassure victims that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe and that no victim should have the impression that they are causing a problem by reporting abuse, sexual violence or sexual harassment.

Paragraph 31 now includes that all staff should have an awareness of the sharing of nude and semi-nude images which has replaced previous sexting advice. There is a footnote that states “Consensual image sharing, especially between older children of the same age, may require a different response. It might not be abusive – but children still need to know it is illegal- whilst non-consensual is illegal and abusive. UKCIS provides detailed advice about sharing of nudes and semi-nude images and videos”.

Paragraphs 32 – 35 have been updated with new additional information on Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE). This includes information on how children can be exploited and makes clear that the experiences of girls being criminally exploited can be very different to boys, indicators of CCE may also be different for girls.

Paragraphs 36 – 39 have been updated with new additional information on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) which makes it clear that CSE is a form of child sexual abuse and includes information on what it may involve.

Paragraph 44 – Updated list of mental health resources from Public Health England.

Paragraphs 46 – 50 have been updated with additional information which highlights the importance of staff recognising the signs of peer on peer abuse and knowing how to respond to reports.

Paragraphs 51 and 52 now contain additional information on the risk factors for serious violence.

Paragraph 63 is a new paragraph outlining the need for children’s social care assessments to consider where children are being harmed in contexts outside the home. Schools and colleges need to provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process.

Paragraphs 71 and 72 has added information about what records should include:

  • A clear and comprehensive summary of the concern
  • Details of how the concern was follow up and resolved
  • A note of any action taken, decisions reached and the outcome

Part 2: The Management of Safeguarding

Paragraph 82 and 83 is a new section on the whole school and college approach to safeguarding. All processes and policies should operate with the best interests of the child at their heart.

Paragraph 85 now references peer on peer abuse and reporting systems and there is added information about what schools and colleges should include in the child protection policy.

Paragraph 105 sets out very clearly that schools and colleges have clear powers to share, hold and use safeguarding information.

Paragraphs 117 and 118 has been updated to ensure that Governing Bodies and Proprietors ensure that all staff undergo regular updated safeguarding training including online safety and that all children are taught about safeguarding including online safety.

Paragraph 121 sets out the suite of DfE resources that are available for the teaching of relationships, sex and health.

Paragraph 123 – 135 is a new section about online safety, remote learning, filters and monitoring, information security, cybercrime, reviewing online safety provision and information and support. There are useful links to further information on each of these aspects of online safety.

Paragraph 143 is a new paragraph on teacher dismissal and consideration whether to refer to the Secretary of State.

Paragraph 145 sets out clearly clarification on peer-on-peer abuse and that there will be a zero-tolerance approach to abuse.

Paragraph 155 and 156 are new paragraphs that cover the use of school/college premises for non-school/college activities. Governing Bodies and Proprietors should ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to keep children safe.

Paragraphs 157 and 158 are new paragraphs on alternative provision which makes clear that governing bodies and proprietors of these settings should be aware of the additional risk of harm that their pupils may be vulnerable to.

Paragraphs 165 – 168 are new paragraphs and reflect the increase in the number of pupils whoa re now in receipt of Elective Home Education.

Paragraphs 172 – 175 contain additional information about DfE’s programme to help schools with preventing and tackling bullying  and mental health and behaviour in schools. There is also reference to resources from Public Health England to support Secondary schools.

Part 3: Safer Recruitment

The whole of Part three has been substantively restructured to align it with the recruitment process- however legal duties have not changed.

Paragraph 212 has been added to reflect the Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021 which extending safeguarding provisions to post 16 education.

Paragraph 213 has been updated to include information about the use of birth certificates (where available) to check an individual’s identity.

Paragraph 229 offers an explanation of when separate barred list checks must be carried out.

Paragraph 237 offers clarification about section 128 checks.

Paragraph 242 offers further clarification on how to check prohibitions, directions, sanctions and restrictions, including children’s barred list checks.

Paragraph 262 offers further clarification on overseas checks and what further checks could include.

Part 4: Allegations made against/Concerns raised in relation to teachers, including supply teachers, other staff, volunteers and contractors

Part 4 has now been divided into two sections:

  • Section 1: Allegations that may meet the harms threshold
  • Section 2: Allegations/concerns that do not meet the threshold i.e. low-level concerns.

This new section includes what a low-level concern is, making the link between low level concerns, staff code of conduct and safeguarding policies, and recording and sharing information with relevant parties including whether this information should be included in references.

Part 5: Child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment

This section has been significantly updated following the recent Ofsted review on sexual abuse in schools and colleges.

Paragraphs 428 – 434 have been updated to remind staff that they should read this section alongside the Sexual violence and sexual harassment advice which has also been updated for September 2021. It should be made clear that it can happen inside or outside of school and online.

Paragraphs 435 and 436 are new paragraphs highlighting the importance of acknowledging and understanding the scale of harassment and abuse.

Paragraph 441 is a new paragraph highlighting the need to be aware that children might not tell staff about their abuse and that it maybe that staff overhear a conversation or the child’s behaviour changes etc.

Paragraph 442 is a new paragraph which highlights how a school or college responds to an incident will impact future victims of sexual violence or sexual harassment.

Paragraph 450 highlights the need for all schools to have a zero tolerance to sexual violence and sexual harassment. It is never accepted and it will not be tolerated.

Paragraph 452 offers clarification about regularly reviewing actions e.g. for patterns of inappropriate behaviour and bail considerations.

Paragraph 454 and 454 are new paragraphs on unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious reports. It provides a reminder about recording concerns and what to do when a report is found to be unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious.

Paragraph 456 offers a reminder that that sexual assault can result in a range of health needs and signposts to a number of sources of support.

Paragraph 464 offers further information about harmful sexual behaviour and signposting to a number of sources of support

Annex A: Safeguarding information for school and college staff

This is a new condensed version of Part one of Keeping children safe in education. It can be provided (instead of Part one) to those staff who do not directly work with children, if the Governing Body or Proprietor think it will provide a better basis for those staff to promote the welfare and safeguard children.

Annex B: Further Information

There is additional information in the following sections:

  • Child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation
  • Modern slavery and the National Referral Mechanism
  • County lines
  • Cybercrime
  • Peer on Peer abuse
  • Preventing radicalisation

Annex C: Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Additional information has been added about keeping and storing records, where a concern about a child has been identified

Annex D: Online safety

New links have been added to additional and new resources

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